A Laptop Naptime Mama

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

YouTube, Herbal Tea, and a Whole Lot of Procrastination

A Laptop Naptime Mama by Joanne Rendell

11:30 am - I've done it.

I am now officially a "suck-it-up-and-pay-for-a-babystitter-and-take-my-laptop-to-a-coffee-shop” mama. With some writing deadlines looming, I decided that naptimes were just not enough anymore. Plus, trying to put Benny down for a nap three hours after he’d just got up – so I could finish a chapter or work on a book review – did seem a little cruel.

So far, my new mama-status is proving to be pretty damn fun. Just half an hour ago, I left Benny with lovely Emily the babysitter who not only wears the coolest vintage outfits, but who also brought along a “My Little Pony” special edition DVD boxset. Spying the shimmering rainbows and pale pink and green ponies on the cover, Benny took Emily’s hand and practically booted me out the door. Gone are the days when he would wail like an abandoned pup if I so much as disappeared behind a doorframe.

So now I’m happily ensconced at the coffee shop in a nearby bookstore. Okay, so I could have got here a little earlier but en route I had to swing through Brooklyn Industries (my favorite store) and paw over, try on, and contemplate buying a number of their new hoodies. I managed to drag myself away without opening my wallet, however, and now here I am, raring to go. My laptop is open and glowing, happy to be out of the house again. I’m stretching my back, limbering my fingers, and the sweet coffee shop aroma is firing my writing neurons. I have a delicious, Benny-free, two hours stretching before me.

Okay, so here I go….Oooh, wait a minute, here comes the waiter guy. And fancy that? He’s wearing the same “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt which I just bought for Benny…

11.51 am – What a nice guy. Not only does he have that great t-shirt, he was also kind enough to explain all the different kinds of tea options on the menu and even brought me a taster of the Rooibos Lemon Chiffon tea. Of course, I didn’t like it and had to explain to him that, even though I like the sound of all these herbal teas with their pretty triple-barreled names, I’m just too British to actually like them. “Black tea with lots of caffeine and a dash of milk – it’s the only way,” I explained. This, of course, started a long discussion about my mother country and it turns out the waiter’s aunt lives in London and feels the exact same way about tea. “Herbal Schmerbal, she calls it,” he told me with a laugh.

But now my lovely waiter is off tending to someone else. So, after taking a long sip of my black tea, I place my fingertips on the keypad and…. Well, look at that?! I just caught a glimpse of a sign which says this coffee shop has WiFi. I didn’t know that. Okay, so I know the whole point of coming here was to have an intensive writing session where I couldn’t check my emails and watch ridiculous videos on YouTube whenever I get stuck on a word or a sentence. But, I suppose I could just see if the connection works….

12.34 pm – Hmmm. I didn’t mean to spend all that time online. But my friend sent me that interesting Salon article about Hillary Clinton and then I had to check a couple of my favorite blogs. Oh, and I just had to google that old school friend who I had a really weird dream about last night. I didn’t find her, but I did find this crazy site for people buying and selling horses. You should see the little videos they make to advertise their animals. Billowing manes, ponies in bows, cantoring in the sunset. It’s like horsie porn.

Enough, enough. I only have an hour left. I need to concentrate. And I really will concentrate just as soon as I get back from the bathroom…

1.10 pm – They must have done that on purpose. Placing the bathroom on the other side of the store, so you have to pass by every best seller table and interesting New York fiction stand, before you get there. I couldn’t help stopping and browsing. I mean, how often do I get to be in a bookstore without a three year old pleading for “The Little Engine that Could” at the top of his lungs? And, you know what? Perhaps I shouldn’t feel bad. Looking at new books is research, after all. Especially for a serious, dedicated writer like myself. You have to know what’s on the market, who’s publishing what, who thanking who in their acknowledgments. It’s a vital part of the job.

I’ve got twenty minutes left. If I get my head down, maybe I can churn out a couple of hundred words….ah, but is that my stomach grumbling?

1.30 pm. Time to go. I have written a grand total of 10 words. This means, at ten bucks an hour for 2.5 hours babysitting, I’ve paid $2.50 for each word I’ve written. Seems kind of pricey to me. I’m going to be penniless by the time I finish my 100,000 word novel.

Oh well, that toasted bagel with lashings of cream cheese tasted so good, perhaps it was all worth it. And next time, I promise I will be different. I will be writing powerhouse. Not a t-shirt, tea, or toasted bagel will distract me.


For more of Joanne Rendell's mommy blogs - including "Fishing for Poo," "Should Mommy's Wear Thongs?" and "What's that dangly thing between his legs?" then Click Here to visit her at the popular website, Get Crafty. To return to the Role Mommy home page, Click Here.


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